Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow Mind is rolling out a mental health app to teenagers living within its state school network.

Wysa will be made available to those aged 13-18 with Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow Mind hoping that the move will encourage teenagers to come forward if they need support.

Teenagers will be able to complete a request form on the Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow Mind website and a standard assessment will then confirm whether the app would meet their mental health needs.  Children with mild support needs will receive a link from the patient record system giving them access to Premium Wysa. Those with mild to moderate symptoms will also be able to access Premium Wysa and in addition will be offered the usual pathway for talking therapy support from Mind. 

Wysa’s chatbot uses cognitive-behavioural techniques (CBT), meditation, breathing and mindfulness, as well as encouraging users to build their mental resilience skills through micro-actions. It gives young people 24/7 access to interactive, AI-guided support and takes users through self-care exercises, with evidence-based support for stress, grief, insomnia, coping with pain, anger, self-esteem and more. 

Nana Owusu, clinical lead and director of children and young people’s services, HFEH Mind said: “Self-help needs to be interactive, engaging and even enjoyable, to encourage teenagers to build their mental resilience and help prevent the onset or deterioration of any diagnosed mental illness.  

“The appeal of this app also means we can tap into teenagers’ preferences for communicating. We hope it will mean we can discover more teenagers who need the higher level of support that is available to them. With so many apps out there, parents can be reassured that their children are safe and supported through a tool that is clinically validated.” 

Wysa has also been rolled out by Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust to give patients additional support before, during and after NHS-prescribed talking therapies.

Ross O’Brien, Wysa managing director, added: Wysa makes it easier for young people to access the vital mental health support they need, when they need it. Young people shouldn’t have to wait until they are very unwell to receive treatment or support.  

“So whether they need one to one therapeutic support, wellbeing resources, immediate and ongoing support and information, or on-demand exercises to help their mental health – Wysa will be with them every step of the way.”